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Tender Feet and Warm Hearts

December 16, 2011

It’s been a heartbreak to watch our mares tiptoe around on their too short hooves. I made a bad decision, one made all the worse because it has caused another being to suffer. I didn’t have my regular farrier down to pull our horses shoes and trim them for winter. When the job was finished, it was near dark. We put the horses up and went inside against the 20 degree weather. We were told they would be a bit sore, to be expected when coming off having shoes all the way around, but upon examination in the next few days, it was plain to see that they were trimmed too damn short, especially Two Feather’s back feet. When we were 4 days past, and they  could still hardley walk, I took some action. I phoned my regular farrier and the vet and got the identical advice. They are too short to put shoes on, and given the slow hoof growth of winter, we had to wait it out. They advised iodine once a day to harden the hooves. I also know that epsom salt soaks can take the sting out, so we’ve been doctoring their poor feet. Good news, Sonata is almost 100 percent. Two Feathers is coming along, but still ginger.  I have kicked myself for days. We humans are responsible for these things.

Here is the beauty of what is also happening. No matter how much Two Feathers and I have bonded, she always shies away from me when I feed her or when she’s at liberty in her domain. Once I halter her, she is loving and attentive. After the first session of soaking her feet, she has changed her tune. She lets me rub her head as I throw the hay in her feeder, she comes over to the fence for a little loving, she seems genuinely grateful for the care I’m giving her.

This love is spreading around the ranch. Zephyr has begun to accept the new pup Chief. The first week, we had to give her a separate water bowl, she wouldn’t have anything to do with something that new little thing touched. This week, she has not only sniffed him, but she’s played with him in her odd blue tick coon hound way as we work on our many projects around here (like the passive solar water tank Tim just finished), and they napped together in the sun. It is the season for love and gratitude (really, they all are) and despite our quiet Christmas here in Idaho, the spirit of love is all around us.

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